The organization honored outstanding teachers and members of the community’s BEST Partnership earlier this week in the Chamber’s Village Green facilities.
The BEST (Business and Education Serving Together) program is a partnership between local businesses and schools which is designed for the betterment of both parties, as well as the surrounding community.
“Education is the key to a growing, vibrant community,” said Sherry Crye, director of workforce development for the chamber. “We are so happy to take the time to salute these great teachers and at the same time applaud the generosity of our local businesses.”
The chamber awarded three levels of recognition for the BEST Partnership awards. Platinum, Gold and Silver level awards were newly instituted by the chamber this year, and up to three partnerships can be recognized per level.
Silver level recognition went to the partnerships between Manufacturers Chemicals LLC and Teen Learning Center; Olin Chlor Alkali Products and Charleston Elementary School; and People for Care and Learning and Tennessee Christian Preparatory School.
Manufacturers Chemicals LLC and TLC have been partners for several years. Manufacturers provided funds that allowed students to participate in a daylong camp called TREK Adventures. The camp helped the students gain a better appreciation of nature. In return, students made thank-you cards and treats for Thanksgiving to show their gratitude, and also created Christmas ornaments for the employees at Manufacturers.
Olin Chlor Alkali Products and Charleston Elementary kicked off the school year with a party that allowed parents a place to meet teachers. Olin also utilized the event to hand out school supplies to students in attendance. Olin also updated a piece of the school’s playground equipment and provided a new electric sign on which the school can display upcoming events. In return the Charleston’s choir sang Christmas carols at Olin’s Cleveland office and decorates a bulletin board at Olin each month.
The final silver award winner is the partnership between People for Care and Learning and Tennessee Christian Preparatory School. This year is the first for the partnership. Students at TCPS were inspired by the message of PCL, and as a result began to raise funds to dig fresh water wells in Cambodia.
PCL sponsored the school’s Fall Festival and through the event $1,000 was raised for well digging. PCL also established a Skype connection between the school and a children’s home in Cambodia so the children could talk to one another and experience each other’s culture.
Gold level awards went to Arch Chemicals Inc. and Walker Valley High School, Cleveland Tubing Inc. and Blue Springs Elementary School and SkyRidge Medical Center and its two partners, Black Fox and Hopewell Elementary.
The partnership between Arch Chemicals Inc. and Walker Valley High School is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. Recently, Arch presented Walker Valley with an aerial photo to commemorate the school’s 10th anniversary. Arch also donated 16 flat-screen computer monitors to the school’s business department.
Arch’s Employees Credit Union hosted its annual membership meeting in the school’s cafeteria, and the two have partnered together to raise money for the Relay for Life. They were recently recognized as the No. 1 fundraising team in the Bradley County/Chattanooga area by the American Cancer Society.
Cleveland Tubing Inc. and Blue Springs Elementary School’s partnership began at the start of the school year. Cleveland Tubing provided school supplies for all students, volunteered at the school’s open house and assisted the school’s PTO with the annual Fall Festival. The partnership also started an eight-week class that teaches students math, science, engineering and technology with hands-on learning.
The Blue Springs Chorus visited Cleveland Tubing to sing Christmas carols to workers. The school also wrote thank-you notes to Cleveland Tubing and provides space on the school’s website to help give the business more visibility.
SkyRidge Medical Center took on two partners, both Black Fox and Hopewell Elementary Schools. The center sponsors the morning show at Hopewell and provides the shirts that students on the program wear. SkyRidge also provides Basic Life Support Certification classes and seasonal flu shots free to teachers and staffs at both schools.
Both school choirs visit the hospital during the holidays and sing carols to staff and visitors. Hopewell held a Thank You Luncheon for the hospital and the school’s other volunteers. SkyRidge will also provide monetary and labor support for the walking trail at Black Fox, following approval of a community partnership grant.
Three partnerships made it to the chamber’s Platinum-level award: Cleveland State Community College and Taylor Elementary School, Eaton Electrical and Taylor Elementary School and Santeck Environmental Inc. and Prospect Elementary School.
Cleveland State kicked off its partnership with Taylor Elementary by providing “gently used” video equipment for that school’s morning show. The college also donated 15 used flat-screen computer monitors to replace outdated monitors at the school. Allen Gentry, co-dean of business and technology at the college, educated Taylor students with a presentation on solar power.
Taylor gave back through its student council creating a float honoring the school’s partnership with Cleveland State in the city’s Christmas Parade. Jared Elrod, a Taylor fifth-grader, designed the college’s Christmas card and the school choir held a holiday music program on the college’s campus. Cleveland State also hosted a Taylor Day during a college basketball game. The event allowed Taylor basketball players and cheerleaders to play and show off their skills.
Eaton Electrical is also a BEST partner with Taylor Elementary, and the company recently helped the school purchase a number of new computers for the school’s new computer lab. Eaton is also helping Taylor in its efforts to “go green” by providing 54 surge protectors for the school’s classrooms. Employees at Eaton collect and provide school supplies for students all school year and the also provide Christmas gifts to deserving Taylor students.
The school’s cheerleaders adorned the Eaton Christmas tree with decorations handmade by the students, and the school’s chorale provided the music for the company’s Christmas party. Eaton was also featured on the float created by the Taylor student council.
The last BEST partnership honored was between Santek Environmental Inc. and Prospect Elementary. Santek purchased new puppets for Prospect’s broadcasting program and also continuously sponsors the school’s Character Education Program. The company also provided books to students who could not afford to buy one at the Book Fair and made all the preparations for the recently finished school walking track.
Prospect invites all of Santek’s employees to the school’s Thanksgiving luncheon and gives the company a performance and special gifts during Random Acts of Kindness Week.
This partnership took a creative turn with Principal Steve Montgomery and Vice President of Marketing Cheryl Dunson doing a day as an “undercover boss” at the other’s place of business.
The event also honored six local teachers: Carrie Guy, Donna Spain, Carol Sullivan, Rodney Broadnax, Jim Burton and Rebecca Lay were recognized as outstanding teachers.
Dan Glasscock, supervisor of secondary education at Bradley County Schools, Dr. Bill Balzano, president of Tennessee Christian Preparatory School, and Denning, director of Cleveland City School, also awarded outstanding teachers at each area school.
Denning was also recognized by the chamber for his time serving the city schools.
Door prizes provided by chamber member businesses were handed out to the educators who were present.